Intellectual Property is Critical to Job Creation

Today, the White House hosted a jobs summit meant to discuss how to protect current jobs and prevent further losses. In light of this, I would like to point to a sector that has continuously supported jobs in the United States: the intellectual property sector.

America has long maintained a competitive advantage in the global market when it comes to innovation and intellectual property. It is intellectual property that drives this economy to the tune of $5 trillion, accounting for half of all U.S. exports, and employing nearly 18 million workers. These are high wage jobs that are ensured and protected due to IP protections that allow for stability in the industry. 
Yet this vital industry continues to be under attack. The Global Intellectual Property Center has compiled a list of statistics on the value of IP to job creation and the costs of IP theft. Here are just a few:
  • Jobs in intellectual property-intensive industries were expected to grow faster over the next decade than the national average.  (Robert J. Shapiro and Nam D. Pham, "Economic Effects of Intellectual Property-Intensive Manufacturing in the United States," World Growth, 7/07)
  • Counterfeiting and piracy have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
  • The auto industry could hire 250,000 additional workers in the sale of counterfeit auto parts was eliminated. (U.S. Federal Trade Commission)
  • Movies, music and books created and copyrighted by American artists and writers are seen, heard, and read every day in every country and are responsible for nearly 5.4 million U.S. jobs.
  • Absent motion picture piracy, 141,030 new jobs would have been added to the U.S. economy.  Of this total, 46,597 jobs would have been created in the motion picture industries while 94,433 jobs would have been added in other industries.  ("The True Cost of Motion Picture Piracy to the U.S. Economy," Institute for Policy Innovation’s Center for Technology Freedom, 9/06)
Americans work in a society where individual freedom, economic expansion and job creation depend on securing property rights. When creators and innovators face the risk of having their property effectively expropriated, nobody wins. The innovator faces a disincentive to invest in their endeavors and society loses out on the opportunity to benefit from their works. Economic growth only occurs when property, in all forms, is respected AND protected.